14 September 2011
The use of disruptive technologies (those that create new markets and disrupt existing markets by displacing earlier technologies) in the photovoltaic (PV) inverter industry grew strongly in 2010 with shipments of microinverters and power optimisers growing by well over 500%.
However, they still accounted for less than 1% of PV inverter revenues, according to IMS Research. Although most shipments have so far been limited to only a few suppliers, such as Enphase and SolarEdge, which have seen success in the microinverter and DC-to-DC power-optimiser markets, respectively, there are now more than 20 suppliers known to be active. Many more are in "stealth mode" and the market is forecast to more than double on average every year to 2015.
According to IMS Research, the market for microinverters and power optimisers is forecast to be worth more than $1.3 billion (USD) in 2015. Then, prices for these disruptive technologies are predicted to be considerably lower than they are today, with the benefits of volume production achieved through original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreements. However, in 2015, microinverter average prices are forecast to still be close to 50% higher than those of conventional inverters limiting their penetration to only 6% of the market.
IMS Research's "Microinverters & Power Optimisers - World - 2011" report predicts that the growing supplier base and decreasing prices of the two disruptive technologies will drive growth. The new report found that although the market is still incredibly young, several factors are likely to either enhance adoption of the technology or hinder it. A number of microinverter and power-optimiser suppliers are known to be in active partnership discussions with module suppliers to provide module-integrated solutions. IMS Research predicts that 45% of microinverters and 40% of power optimisers will be shipped in combination with a module by 2015.